This cook is based on a recipe from Boxxfresh, a UK company supplying really great fresh fruit and vegetables. They described Mole (pronounced ‘mo-lay’) as the ‘quintessential chilli sauce native to Mexico’. It apparently literally means ’everyday sauce’! As such it is ladled over nachos, tacos, enchiladas, burritos or served on rice. The recipe takes care to mimic what so many of us think of a “Chilli” meaning Chilli con Carne. But this is a plant based dish or one of the plant-centric dishes we are cooking more and more. So whilst mimicking this classic meat based dish it uses chopped mushrooms to recreate some of the texture of minced beef and does so very well. It returns to its origins in South America with tomatoes, black beans, dark chocolate, chillies and cinnamon spices to create what they describe as ‘deep soulful flavours that will have you reaching for seconds!’
We have used Boxxfresh (no links) to supply most of the plant based food we have eaten during the first 12 months of the covid pandemic. Together with supplying fantastic products they are actively helping and encouraging people to make more of, and more with fruit and vegetables. This recipe started out as one of the many on their site (see here) with just a few little adjustments for cooking it on the Big Green Egg
The Big Green Egg was lit and allowed to heat up to around 180C. Whilst the temperature settled we blitzed the mushrooms in the food processor, being carful not to process it too far. The whole thing could be cooked directly in a Dutch Oven but I prefer to use a wide shallow handle free pan to start things off. The mushrooms were gently fried off in olive oil in this pan until softened. These were then set aside.
As the food processor had already been used we also blitzed the onions and then cooked in the same pan as we had the mushrooms. After a minute or so the chopped garlic was added. We have also come to add the red pepper (which we use instead of the chilli in the original recipe) at this stage. This was softened with the onions. (We have also done them separately and added them back in when the mushrooms were added back – but this is just easier).
The onions were cooked until translucent at which point the spice mix was then stirred through and cooked for another minute or so.
The platesetter was put in place to move the BGE to indirect cooking. A small chunk of oak was added to the charcoal to add to the smoky flavours developed in the second part of the cook.
The onion, garlic, pepper and spice mix was transferred to a Dutch oven together with the 2 tins of beans. This was then put into the EGG and allowed to warm through. Once warmed, the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, tamari, vinegar and wine were all added to the pot and gently mixed together. The whole dish was brought to a very gentle simmer without the lid to cook off the alcohol and allow the liquids to reduce a little.
Finally, the mushrooms, (the sautéed peppers if you choose to cook them separately), chocolate and maple syrup were added and stirred through the dish. As you will see from the picture we had slightly misjudged the volume of the ingredients. The pan was very full to say the least. Normally we would have cooked this for around 90 minutes or so at around 150-160C. Because the pan was so full we cooked at around 110C instead. This proved to be a great decision!
At 110C we ended up with a very slow cook taking around 5hrs. During this time the volume reduced, though only a little, and the colour deepened. More importantly the taste took on a really complex richness, more than we have had before. It will be ‘low and slow’ for this dish from now on!
Served with a baked potato, rice, nachos or tortilla chips – you really can’t go wrong!!
…………. do give it a go!!
Chilli sin Carne - a plant-centric version of a classic
A superb plant centric version of a classic chilli con carne!
- 250g of mushrooms
- 2 red onions or 3 shallots
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 1 Red pepper (could substitute with 1/2 or 1 whole chilli)
- 2 tins of black beans of kidney beans or pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
- 2 x 400g tinned tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp
- 1 tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
- 1 large glass red wine
- 10g of dark chocolate
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Step 1 This can be cooked inside on the hob and oven – or on the BGE – or a combination of both. When the weather isn’t great we sometimes do the first part in the kitchen on the hob
- Step 2 Light the Big Green Egg and allow it to heat up to around 180C.
- Step 3 Blitz the mushrooms in the food processor Leave them coarse)
- Step 4 Sauté the mushrooms in olive oil until coloured and softened, either directly in a dutch oven or in a handless pan (if working on the BGE). Set aside.
- Step 5 Blitz the onions and cook in the same pan as the mushrooms. After a minute or so add the chopped garlic after a couple of minutes more add the red pepper and softened with the onions. When the onions are translucent add the spice mix and stir through for another minute or so.
- Step 6 Add the platesetter to the BGE and add some smoking wood to the charcoal
- Step 7 Transfer the onion, garlic, pepper and spice mix to a Dutch oven (if not already using the Dutch oven)together with the 2 tins of beans. Place on the EGG and allow to warm through. Then add the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, tamari, vinegar and wine to the pot and stir through. Bring to a very gentle simmer without the lid to cook off the alcohol and allow the liquids to reduce a little.
- Step 8 Finally, add the mushrooms, chocolate and maple syrup and stir through the dish. Cook at around 110C for at least 3hrs (or at 180C for 90m
- Step 9 Serve with a baked potato, rice, nachos or tortilla chips